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Georgetown Law Library

District of Columbia In-Depth

This State Guide provides an in-depth look at sources of law within the District of Columbia.

Courts & Cases

I. Courts

Local Court System:

The D.C. Home Rule Act, Pub. L. No. 93-198, 87 Stat. 744 (1973) (D.C. Code Ann. §§ 1-201.01 to 1-207.71) provided for the establishment of the Superior Court of D.C. and the D.C. Court of Appeals. The appointment of judges for these two courts was granted to the President with the advice and consent of the Senate.

D.C. Court of Appeals

The D.C. Court of Appeals is the court of last resort for the District of Columbia. It was known as the "Municipal Court of Appeals" from 1942 to 1962 when it was renamed "District of Columbia Court of Appeals." It is authorized to review all final orders, judgments and specified interlocutory orders of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. It also has jurisdiction to review decisions of administrative agencies, boards, and commissions of the District government. It is authorized by Congress to review proposed rules of the trial court and promulgates its own rules.

Superior Court of the District of Columbia

The Superior Court handles all local trial matters, including civil, criminal, family court, probate, tax, landlord-tenant, small claims, and traffic.

Federal Court System:

United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

United States District Court, District of Columbia (trial court of DC at the federal level)  

There are several Directories with District of Columbia Court system information:

  • Leadership Library
    It provides contact and biographical information of the D.C. Court of Appeals judges, but not D.C. Superior Court judges.
    • Print version: Judicial Yellow Book: Who's Who in Federal and State Courts(JK2679 .J8 (1995-2008, print subscription now cancelled))
  • Federal-State Court Directory KF8700.A19 W3 (2007 - )
    (formerly titled Want's Federal-State Court Directory (KF8700 .A19 W3 (1984-2006))
    It provides a D.C. Court structure chart. It also provides contact information of the Court of Appeals, Superior Court, Office of Corporation Council and Mayor's Office.

  • Directory of State Court Clerks and County Courthouses (KF8700 .A19 D574) (1994-2008, 2010, print subscription cancelled )
    Companion publication to Federal-State Court Directory.

  • Judicial Staff Directory KF8700.A19 J83 (1987-1999, 2001-2002, 2005, 2007-2008)
    It provides contact and biographical information of judges of the D.C. Court of Appeals and D.C. Superior Court.

  • BNA's Directory of State and Federal Courts, Judges, and Clerks: a State-by-state and Federal Listing KF8700 .A19 K56 (1995-2012) (cancelled 2012)
    It provides a D.C. Court structure chart as well as contact information of all D.C. judges and judiciary staff.

II. Court Opinions

Local Court Opinions:
Not all opinions of the D.C. Court of Appeals are published. Signed opinions and per curiam opinions are published. Memorandum Opinions and Judgments (MOJs) are not published. Superior Court proceedings can be requested from the Court Reporting Division for a fee.

Where to find D.C. Court of Appeals Opinions?

Where to find Superior Court of DC Opinions?

  • Lexis: DC Superior Court of the District of Columbia from 2001
  • The Daily Washington Law Reporter KFD1247.D3 (1875 - )
    Provides abstracts of selected daily cases. Opinions from 1979 to present are also available electronically.
  • Tax Division, Superior Court of the District of Columbia
    Tax Division cases are available through the DC Courts's Court Cases Online search.
  • Superior Court of the District of Columbia
    Clerk of the Superior Court: Duane B. Delaney
    Moultrie Courthouse
    500 Indiana Ave., NW , Rm 2500
    Washington , D.C. 20001
    Tel: 202-879-1400

Federal Court Opinions:

Where to find United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and US District Court for the District of Columbia opinions?

Finding Aids:

[Digests are also available in Westlaw.]

III. Court Rules

Where to find Rules of the D.C. Court of Appeals?

  • D.C. Court of Appeals (includes Rules of the D.C. Court of Appeals (pre-2004), Current Rules, Order Promulgating Revised Rules, and Schedule of Fees and Costs)
  • District of Columbia Court Rules Annotated KFD1729 .A193 (1982 - )
  • Citations to the Rules of the Courts of the District of Columbia KFD1729.A14 R8
  • Court Rules Service KFD1729 .A2
    Contains court rules for D.C. Superior Court, D.C. Court of Appeals, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for D.C., and the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C.
  • Lexis: DC - District of Columbia State & Federal Court Rules
  • Westlaw: DC-RULES

Where to Find Superior Court Rules?